In the Netherlands a French nobleman, son of a Count, has requested incorporation into the Nobility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, since he is a naturalized citizen of the kingdom. The High Council of Nobility has advised: no
incorporation. Reason for the negative advice: France has no "similar system of nobility", which is a requirement for incorporation into the Nobility. The French aristocrat did not accept this refusal and started a lawsuit at the Court of Justice in Alkmaar, North-Holland. The Court has given the following verdict, which is interesting to read:
1 - the plaintiff, son of a French Count (deceased in 1980), has requested incorporation into the Nobility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands because he belongs to a French noble dynasty;
2 - Article 2 of the Nobility Act states that nobility can be aquired by elevation, recognition and incorporation. Incorporation can only happen when a petitioner belongs to a noble dynasty of a state with a comparable system of nobility;
3 - the defendant (the State of the Netherlands, more precize: the minister of the Interior, represented by the Land's Advocate) has rejected the request. Consideration was: France knows no "comparable system of nobility" and therefore the requested incorporation was not possible.
The Court of Justice:
According to information from the French Department of Justice, Direction des Affaires civiles et du seau
, it has become clear that since the Troisième République
(1870) no longer titles of nobility were granted in France. Only existing titles were (and are still) confirmed. It is also not possible for a foreign noble to become incorporated into the French nobility. With this the duty of the French Minister of Justice is limited to confirmation or verification of existing nobility.
The defendant (the Minister of the Interior, represented by the Land's Advocate) has also pointed to the fact that the French system of nobility is not comparable: in France the eldest male successor inherits the title. In the Netherlands the title and/or predicate is transferred to all children respectively the title to the eldest son and the predicate to all other children. Incorporation of the French nobleman would mean that all his children -in contradiction to original French Letters Patent- would inherit a title.
The Court of Justice agreed that the differences between the Dutch and French systems of nobility are too big to speak about comparable systems. On base of this consideration the Court of Justice was of the opinion that the defendant (the Minister of the Interior) was right in the rejection of the requested incorporation.
The plaintiff (the French nobleman) has brought forward that Princes and Princesses de Bourbon de Parme were incorporated into the nobility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Also the title Prince of Orange is a French title. Because of this, also his request for incorporation should be honoured.
The defendant (the Minister of the Interior) has rejected these grounds: the incorporation of the Princes and Princesses de Bourbon de Parme happened on grounds of their descendance from the ruling Royal House of Spain, not on base of their French nobility. The defendant has also stated that the title Prince of Orange is a Dutch title which is born by the successor to the throne.
The Court of Justice was of the opinion that the defendant has given convincing motivation that these examples are no similar cases indeed and so an appeal on equal treatment was rightfully dismissed.
The plaintiff (the French nobleman) stated that the neither the High Council of Nobility nor the Minister of the Interior have denied that he is a French nobleman indeed.
The Court of Justice was of the opinion that the question whether the plaintiff was a nobleman or not, was not what the case was about. The fact that France has no similar system of nobility was sufficient for rejection of the requested incorporation, without any judgement about the noble birth of the plaintiff.
The plaintiff can appeal to a higher Court, if desired.